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Stop Powerco Sale Says Peters

12 August 2004

Stop Powerco Sale Says Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters has called on the Finance Minister to stop the sale of the Taranaki-based lines company Powerco because the sale process “flies in the face of all requirements of the law”.

Mr Peters raised concerns about the sale of Powerco with the Finance Minister in Parliament again this afternoon, pointing out that the Local Government Act stated quite clearly that the community had to be consulted and advised on these matters.

“The people of Taranaki have been ignored in the sale process. This deal was done in secret with the participants signing confidentiality agreements and keeping the local community, which owns the assets, completely in the dark.

“Powerco chairman Barry Upson, who had the cheek yesterday to warn the Government against blocking the sale, has to be reminded that this is not a foreign investment but a foreign takeover.

“He stands as trustee, in the shoes of the real owners - the people of Taranaki - and must act in their interests.

“Mr Upson, and the New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennant should remember that in December 1992 when the energy undertakings of local authorities were being corporatised, they were warned to get a public mandate before selling any shares.

“These highly profitable assets belong to the people of Taranaki. Why are they being sold when they are returning exceptional dividends and forming such a vital part of the North Island energy infrastructure?

“The Minister has every reason to decline the sale of Powerco. It is time to take a stand against New Zealand being flogged off to Australian business interests at bargain basement prices,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS


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